As a commercial business owner, it's likely that you'll have to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate for your premises at some point. But what is an Energy Performance Certificate, and when exactly do you need to get one?

Whether you're looking to rent out a building or invest in construction on your premises, you'll find everything you need to know about Energy Performance Certificates right here.

What Is An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

An EPC is used to indicate the energy efficiency of a building. Commercial businesses are provided with an EPC rating from A to G. A building with an energy efficiency rating of A is considered to be "very efficient", whereas a G rating indicates "inefficient" performance.

An EPC must be issued by an accredited domestic energy assessor. Domestic energy assessors work on behalf of the government and are located all over the country. If you're looking to get an EPC for your premises, you shouldn't have any problem finding a local accredited domestic energy assessor.

Aside from the main efficiency rating, EPCs also provide recommendations to businesses to help them reduce their energy usage. These recommendations are always worth taking into account - they can boost your building's EPC rating whilst saving you money in the long run.

Who Needs An EPC?

All commercial businesses need an EPC for their premises, unless they have been given any legal exemptions. All private commercial properties must also have an efficiency rating of E or above to be able to continue with their operations, as set out by the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).

The most common legal exemptions to these rules occur when dealing with a listed building, or any building that would need to be unacceptably altered in order to meet the MEES. Additionally, temporary buildings (those being used for 2 years or less) typically don't need to get an EPC.

There are also ways to avoid an EPC if you can demonstrate any of the following:

  • The building is used for religious activities or as a place of worship
  • Your premises are non-residential agricultural buildings
  • Your premises are industrial sites or a workshop
  • The building is detached and has a floor space under 50 square metres
  • The building is due to be legally demolished in the near future

If you're a landlord who's renting our properties, then you'll probably already know all about EPCs. Every rented building must have an EPC, and heavy fines can be dished out if a landlord fails to provide one. EPCs must also be obtained by anyone looking to sell a property, whether they are a private individual, developer or landlord.

What Do Energy Performance Certificates Include?

An EPC is usually made up of four main bits of information. These are energy costs, energy efficiency ratings, performance-related features and recommendations. Let's take a look at each of these more closely and understand exactly what we can learn from an EPC:

Energy costs

An EPC will include estimates for your current and potential business gas and electricity costs. These costs take into account lighting, heating and hot water, but no additional appliances such as a TV or oven. The current estimate gives you a rough idea of how much your business will have to spend on energy with its current efficiency rating.

On the other hand, the potential estimate lets you know how much you could save if your premises had a better energy efficiency rating. This statistic can be quite eye-opening, especially if your building has a lower EPC rating.

Business owners are often encouraged to make energy-efficient changes after seeing this information. At the end of the report, the energy assessor will provide some recommendations on how you can work to improve the efficiency rating of the premises.

Energy efficiency ratings

The next part of the EPC report will consist of an energy efficiency rating table. This table will show where your buildings rank on the efficiency of scale, using the A-G rating system. You'll also be able to see the potential rating that the premises could achieve in the future.

Some EPCs will also include a similar table that displays a property's environmental performance. This is measured slightly differently to energy efficiency, but making energy-saving improvements will often improve the rating in both areas.

The final part of this section contains the "top actions" you can take to improve the efficiency rating of your business premises. These actions are essentially the most important points from the recommendations section. Following the top actions is the quickest route to a better EPC rating.

Performance-related features

The "performance" section of the EPC will break down individual elements of your property, and give each of them their own efficiency rating. For example, your walls might receive a four-star rating, but your windows just two stars.

Some of the other categories included in the breakdown are:

  • Roof
  • Floor
  • Main heating
  • Main heating controls
  • Hot water
  • Lighting

These individual scores make it easy to see exactly why your premises are being held back from receiving a higher efficiency rating. The breakdown is the main thing that your accredited energy assessor will use when making their recommendations for improvement.

How To Get An EPC For Your Business Premises

The only way to get a valid EPC is through an accredited domestic energy assessor. You can find your local assessor via the website, and get in touch with them to arrange an assessment. You may also be able to contact your business energy supplier and get an EPC through them.

The price of an EPC depends on a few factors, including the size of your premises, the complexity of the buildings, as well as the type of assessor you need for the job. Assessors place business premises into two main categories - simple and complex:


Simple buildings are those that are similar in size and structure to traditional domestic dwellings. This means that they typically have a small heating system and some level of natural ventilation. Many small businesses that don't have specialist equipment will fall into this category.

Simple business premises require assessors who have been trained to a level 3 or above.


Complex buildings usually contained advanced features and systems. This could be a large heating system or something that is specific to the work done by the business. For example, a business working with chemicals will usually have a more complicated ventilation system than others.

Assessors need to be trained to at least level 4 in order to legally assess complex business premises.

Displaying Your EPC

Businesses must display energy certificates visibly on their premises if any of the following apply:

  • Their buildings are visited frequently by the public
  • The "useful floor area" of the building is over 500 square metres
  • If the building is up for sale, rental or their are construction works taking place

Find out more about Energy Performance Certificates at Business Energy UK today!

Frequently Asked Questions

For a commercial business, it is the responsibility of the business owner to acquire an EPC for their premises. If they don't get an EPC for their buildings, then they could be subject to hefty fines and penalties.

If the building is being rented or sold, then it's the responsibility of either the landlord or seller to get hold of an EPC. Again, it's illegal to list any property for sale or rent without this certificate. Listing a property without an EPC will typically result in a fine of 12.5% of the property's value.

In the case that construction work is being carried out on a building, then the EPC responsibility falls on whoever is completing the work. Most commonly, this means that the construction company must provide an EPC to the owner of the building.

The cost of an EPC depends on a few factors, but the main ones are the size of the building and its complexity. Since a larger building will take longer to assess, it makes sense that you'll have to pay more for the service.

The price you pay for an EPC will cover the cost of the domestic energy assessor as well as the certificate itself. EPCs last 10 years for all building types, so once you've acquired a certificate you won't have to worry about it for a long time.

Any commercial building with over 500 square metres of floor area that is regularly visited by the public must display an EPC. The certificate must also be displayed in a prominent location that is easily visible for anyone entering the premises.

There are exceptions to these rules, for example when a building is listed. But in the majority of cases you can expect to need an EPC if you run a decent sized commercial business.

This completely depends of the size and complexity of your premises. With that said, most assessments will take between 45 minutes and an hour, so there's no need to put a whole day aside for it.

We'd recommend booking an assessment in as soon as possible once you've decided you need one. Assessors can be very busy, especially the most highly trained individuals, so it's best to get everything sorted in advance.